RadCom September 2018 p14

Plenty of people other than SOTA activators might use cable ties of course.


Leave nothing behind. You know who you are.

I`ve never seen a cable tie used on a trig as it would need to be massive. Most people use bungies.


I don’t even have any cable ties in the shack, let alone the rucksack!

Fake news!

Joking aside, leave no trace is a good mantra but seems odd that a single potentially unsubstantiated accusation be published. Had many letters been received it would be a little different.

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Fairly recently (ie this year but at present I do not remember where it was) cable ties had been looped through the staples on the top of the trig. I wonder if it was the surveyors using them to hold down an instrument as the layout did not look much good for an aerial.

I have found bits here and there and we have lost bits also; sometimes found when we went back to look, sometimes vanished within hours :frowning_face:

I have found PVC tape and cable ties on summits, and always bring them away with me.

On trig points, I have found small devices - possibly GPS - cable tied to the iron loops on the top of the trig, evidently used by cross country events, where competitors check in as they pass - so it isn’t only SOTA activators who use such things…


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About every third or forth summit I activate, I end up bringing back other people rubbish. Chocolate bar wrappers, plastic drinks bottles and newspaper sheets are quite common. There’s often 5 cents deposit on the plastic bottles, so I’m surprised walkers/tourists simply throw them on the ground - but some do.

73 Ed.

I saw that article the other day and raised both eyebrows. My immediate reaction was that the culprit was much more likely to be a kite flyer, model aeroplane hobbyist, geocacher or suchlike. A SOTA activator would surely only use reusable cable ties - and obviously keep them.


I’m with you on this one Tom - most SOTA Activators are far too “careful” with money to use one-off products on a hill. There was one hill I activated in the Cairngorms (easily accessible by Land Rover) where there were a dozen Champagne bottles (empty) left by the trig - blame that one on a very lazy keeper/factor who took his boss up the hill for a celebration.

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It would be nice if some element of defence of their membership had been apparent in the article. I hope the RSGB queried why the complainant blamed radio “enthusiasts” and equally politely pointed out that many other types of “enthusiast” are as likely or more likely to be responsible :frowning:


Hi, agree SOTA activators are unlikely to be the culprits. Champagne bottles (or fragments) not uncommon on Scottish summits, final Munro parties often the cause. See article I wrote for GM/WS-034.

Also seen charity walker support teams with welcome signs cable tied to summit cairns and trig pillars.

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Agreed that litter is unlikely to be from SOTA activators, it can happen, but very rare. The summits that tend to be littered as the most touristy ones. I remember walking up both Scafell Pike G/LD-001 (highest mountain in England) and Ben Nevis GM/WS-001 (highest mountain in Scotland in all UK) and both these summits were spoilt by walkers littering the summits making them both a rubbish tip. I don’t think any of this litter will have been from SOTA activators, more likely to be from people who don’t normally do any walking in the mountains.

Jimmy M0HGY

Interesting that a walker is able to identify the rubbish as being from radio enthusiasts and is able to locate a niche interest magazine that has no high street presence. The professional cynic in me thinks this is someone with a beef against radio enthusiasts and the actions are an excellent way to “rain on the parade” with zero comeback, a nice bit of pseudo-gaslighting. The RSGB actions here are less than stellar for giving credence to such a letter yet could have still run a short article on “ensuring you leave the countryside clean” and gone as far as suggesting people operating portable not only take their own rubbish home but go further and take any other rubbish home too.

The details are vague now, but the MT did get a complaint once that “some SOTA ham” had left a fishing pole jammed in the cairn of a UK summit. ISTR looking at public photos of the summit and checking the logs to see who had activated the summit last. The public photos would have highlighted the rubbish but photos taken sometime after that last logged activation did not comment on a pole left in the cairn. The balance of probabilities suggest strongly it wasn’t a SOTA activator who left it behind.


Just a minor piece of detail, the rings on the trip of a trig point are not Iron but Brass. If it were iron then it would have gone long ago and there would be nothing to put the cable tie on.

For the amazing detail of the trig points read https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/docs/ebooks/history-retriangulation-great-britain-1935-1962.pdf

I think a few cable ties are not the issue for rubbish compared to an endless supply of plastic water bottles.

73 de

Andrew G4VFL


I DO! - read my earlier post in this thread.

The fact is that the RSGB office should never have published the complaint without proof that the litter was indeed from a radio amateur. As it is, it is a slur on our hobby and for Radcom to propagate this is not what they should be doing - OK radcom is only read by radio amateurs so the damage is limied compared to say a local or national paper publishing the accusation. The name of the “concerned walker” who contacted the RSGB, should also have been included in the piece.

End of day.
We are obliged to clean up after ourselves and one thing I do like to do and make sure before i depart any portable operations am at.

Being a biker as well and been to many a bike rally litter is a min of a problem as we we always took bin bags or people running the rally,s provided you with one, So there for take a small bag with you and remove any rubbish you have created.

Then you see end days of festivals of so called Greenies with so much crap you can not see the green of the grass and people popping to beach and just chucking it any old where makes my blood boil.

No need for it


In my case anything that could be considered as “extra weight” is not taken and what I do take is definitely reusable also when leaving a summit I have a good look around to make sure nothing is left. The “concerned walker” would do better to highlight the amount of discarded tissues and food waste that litter the summits and pathways.

The more I look at this, the more I smell a rat!

  • Why would a walker finding a discarded cable tie suspect a radio amateur?
  • How likely is it that a non-licensed person would research and contact Radcom? (feasible I guess)
  • Was any further evidence/information provided by the “concerned walker”?
  • Would Radcom have printed this piece without such additional evidence/information?

One might have thought that the article would be backed up with some of this further information, as really there’s nothing there to suggest it’s got anything to do with amateur radio.

I’m pretty confused by the whole episode. It seems strange; things don’t stack up.


I am still trying to get my head around how I would actually use a standard sized tie wrap to fix a pole to a trig point. In over 600 activations on Marilyns, HuMPs and other summits I have only ever used bungies or webbing to strap a pole to a trig point. Where I do use tie wraps is in conjunction with a fence post and I have always used reusable ties so I can easily retrieve them at the end of the activation. Basically everything is counted out the backpack and back in before I leave the summit. A visual check is made before departure without exception. This is common sense. I am sure we all aim to adopt this approach.

I would hope that the RSGB were provided with photographic evidence, a location and a time and date that the alleged offence was noted. If not, then by printing what they have is not acceptable, polite as the approach may have been. We are all innocent until proven guilty.